Acing the First Impression with a New Leader

Nancy Anderson
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Working under a new boss pushes you outside your comfort zone. Managers hold dominion over your work life, deciding everything from your daily workload to your advancement in the company. By starting your work relationship on a positive note, you have a better chance of reaching your full potential in your current role. Win over your new boss with these tips for making a good impression.

Gather Background Information

Worried about connecting with your new boss? Do a little digging online to learn about his professional or personal interests. While you don't want to slide into stalker mode, it's helpful to find one or two similarities you can tactfully slip into conversation to build rapport.

Show Compassion

Try not to view a new boss as a source of anxiety. The situation is uncomfortable for everyone at first, and acting distant or unwelcoming only adds to the tension. Stepping into an unfamiliar leadership role is nerve-wracking for most people, whether they have management experience or not.

Put your manager off his guard right away by being transparent and friendly. Your boss may value the warm introduction and feel more confident joining the team. Let your new boss know that you're optimistic about working with him and happy to help him get up to speed on current projects.

Embrace the Clean Slate

Be honest with yourself. Are you performing at the top of your game? If you have significant room for improvement, now is the time to make it happen. Your new boss probably has little to no information about your potential. Take advantage of the transition by evaluating your work and making a plan to step up your performance.

Establish Strong Communication

Don't hang back and wait for your new boss to define your work relationship. Be proactive, and ask your manager how she prefers to communicate. Most conflicts at work arise when you and your colleagues aren't clear about what you expect from each other. For example, one person may favor frequent updates by email, while the other prefers brief, in-person meetings only when there's crucial information to share. Establish these preferences early on, so you can stay on the same page with your boss and keep projects on track.

Evaluate the Boss's Personality

Do your best to get an accurate read on your new boss's personality on day one. Is your manager a hands-off leader? An introvert? A stickler for details? The easiest option is to simply ask about your boss's work style and approach to projects. Many bosses appreciate the gesture and see you as a considerate, competent employee who is focused on getting results. You're also more likely to avoid misunderstandings when you understand how your manager thinks.

Gaining respect from your new boss can open the door to better assignments, more responsibility and faster promotions. Take control of your career by distinguishing yourself as a motivated employee who seeks out new opportunities. Ace the first impression, and you can become your new boss's go-to employee in no time.

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